Earlier this week I talked about Rogga Johansson's Megascavenger, and here we are a few dyas later discussing yet another of his projects. This time out, Humanity Delete graces us with their debut album, though any such comments are laughable considering the amount of material Rogga has released both in his career, and this year alone.
Unlike many of those other projects, Humanity Delete has something going for it that differentiates itself; an identity. This is not yet another old-school death metal album. It is, but it's also a short, more focused, more punk and grind influenced album that does away with any pretension and spends the entire time ripping through songs. This is the band that's proverbially here to kick ass and take names.
Of course, trying to kick ass and actually doing it are two different things. All the speed and aggression in the world doesn't matter if there's nothing backing up the bravado, which is a complaint I can lodge too often at “Never Ending Nightmares”. Yes, these songs are as fast and heavy as anything Rogga has put out, but most of them are so focused on speed that they neglect to give second thought to whether or not the material being played is worth putting to tape.
An album like “Reign In Blood” was inhumanly fast at the time it was released, but it wove into that aural massacre moments of groove, riffs that were instantly memorable, and ever vocal passages that begged to be sung along to. Those are all aspects that are missing from “Never Ending Nightmares”, which sounds like the death metal equivalent of a third-rate Slayer tribute band.
That sounds harsh, but it's not at all untrue. Riffs and vocals go by in a flash, and not a single one of them makes any sort of impact, nothing about the record manages to stick after it passes through the ears. For the time it's playing, the energy of the record is tangible, but the true test of music's worth is whether you can carry it with you, and I suspect even death metal fanatics will have difficulty finding much about these songs that will stay with them once the speakers stop pushing air.
What “Never Ending Nightmares” has going for it is that, at the very least, it doesn't sound exactly like everything else Rogga has put out. Humanity Delete is it's own beast, which makes it more enjoyable to experience than the Megascavenger album I reviewed the other day, but it's still not enough to make it worth investing time in. To revisit a metaphor: if Megascavenger was the sound of a knife dulled by overuse, Humanity Delete is that knife sharpened. But what we learn with clarity is that the knife was never of the best quality, and can only do so much.
In the end, hearing Megascavenger and Humanity Delete in succession, and not long after Revolting, I can't help but think the downside of being prolific is on display. Rogga has put out so much death metal that he's written himself into a hole, and the only thing that might help is time. Time to let the ideas refresh, time to let the music live and mature before putting it out, and time for us as listeners to absorb one record before the next comes marching down the pipeline. Sometimes too much is a bad thing, and Rogga is well on his way to proving that.